Yes, I did it! Today marked my third week at UCLA, and I still haven't been voted off the hospital!
Today was also my sister's birthday. Happy birthday, Jess! The cell phone reception in my room is poor, so Mom and I went out to the large hallway by the elevators to call Jess. I looked out the westward-facing floor-to-ceiling window and saw a vista so utopian I assumed it was merely an oasis. A mirage that my hospital-addled mind had forged in a desperate attempt to transport my spirit away from my body's septic incarceration.
Of course I can be speaking of only one thing: a fraternity house rooftop barbecue. This is what I saw by the elevators:
Believe me, I am aware of the symbolism of the bars. They symbolize a ladder to heaven?
Then, from the same window where I'd seen this panorama on Sunday, I saw this:
Click on the picture to enlarge it and behold a grander sense of Shangri-la. Yes, they are playing beer pong. Note the one dude sunbathing on the upper porch. Beer pong is fine for underclassmen, but this communications major prefers sun pong.
It wasn't an hallucination! Hallelujah! As you can see, it's a chapter of SAE. Better still, they've got their Paddy Murphy sign up. Who's Paddy Murphy, you ask?! Only some legendary bootlegger whom Elliot Ness shot and killed...before tragically discovering--via magical frat hand shake--that Murphy was a fellow SAE brother.
I went to a small Quaker college, so my knowledge of Greek life is limited to cultural artifacts.
Fraternities have a rich history of documenting their hazing rituals in ceramics. And yes, I'm aware of the symbolism. Ceramics are fragile, like heterosexual male friendship.
Oddly enough, SAE is the only fraternity I've ever heard of--because a childhood friend, who wound up in another fraternity himself, said that people refer to SAE as "same assholes everywhere."
My knowledge of assholes is also limited to cultural artifacts.
But in my brief Internet research about SAE, I was surprised to discover that William Faulkner and Terry Gilliam are brothers. Then again, so is sports super-agent Scott Boras.
"Barry Zito's mechanics are fine. Trust me!"
Either way, I want to reserve my judgment until I meet an SAE brother. Is President McKinley still alive?
As I lie here in bed now, I can hear the faint din of a large college party. Fortunately I was already woken up by a nurse who was unable to draw blood from my PICC line. The nurses all seem to think midlines can't draw blood, whereas the actual PICC technician swore up and down they could. This may turn into a real problem for me. And I'm feeling as though I may be coming down with a cold. Needless to say, part of me is worried the infection is back, which would also be a substantial bummer and would at least mean a new PICC line, if not a postponement of Monday's suregery.
Fortunately I am helping my own diagnosis by refusing phlebotomy in the middle of the night. Suffice it to say, the entire day I reminded my nurses, and my cardiologist, that no one had done cultures today. By the end of the day, my nurse said it was okay, that there was no order. So the fact that someone (anonymous CCU resident, thank you) ordered cultures at 11:00 and woke me up is too infuriating to countenance.
Mostly, though, I find it so strange that when I looked out the hallway window on Sunday afternoon and saw the foggy, spectral hills, I thought that that reality was about as distant from mine as I could imagine. Then today, looking out the same window at something so entirely different, I had the same feeling.
Fraternity parties and clouds are rocking my conceptions of the world around me, and my understanding of my place in it.